THE coming PBA Rookie Draft 2021 could be one of the deepest, most talented drafts in Asia’s first play-for-pay league.
In fact, the 2021 draft is now being compared to the successful and star-studded 1989 class.
This was stressed by PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial when asked about the coming PBA Draft 2021 during his appearance in the “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization on Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom last Thursday.
Marcial said the draft scheduled on March 14 is so deep and talented it could go as far as the fourth round.
“Sa tingin ko, talagang mabigat at malalim ngayong taon. Wala pa yun iba. Kadalasan, last two days of application na talaga mga nagpapalista,” said Marcial during the weekly forum sponsored by the Philippine Sports
Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
“Kung tama ang naiisip ko, madami manggaling mula sa NCAA. UAAP at MPBL Kung mangyari, aabot tayo up to 3rd at 4th round ngayon. Mabigat itong mga draft picks natin,” added Marcial.
Deadline for application is Jan. 27.
Due to the threat of the coronavirus, Marcial said the rookie draft will be held online, with TV coverage.
The PBA has not yet released a list of early applicants, but several top-notch Fil-Am standouts and homegrown talents have already made themselves available.
A total of 27 players, led by Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 stars Alvin Pasaol, Santi Santillan, Troy Rike and Franky Johnson, have already applied for the draft.
The 1989 draft held last Feb. 6, 1989 was led by Benjie Paras, the “Tower of Power” who was taken in as No. 1 overall pick by Formula Shell. The 6-5 former University of the Philippines standout went on to become the PBA’s first Rookie-MVP winner.
Nelson Asaytono, the “Bull” from University of Manila, and Zaldy Realubit of University of San Jose-Recoletos of Cebu, were the No. 2 and No. 3 picks, by Purefoods and Presto Ice Cream, respectively,
Paul Alvarez, known as “Mr. Excitement, was drafted No. 4 overall by Alaska Milk.
Other notable selections in 1989 were Romeo de la Rosa (Anejo Rum ) and Bobby Jose (San Miguel Beer) in the first round; and Dindo Pumaren (Purefoods), Elmer Cabahug (Alaska), Nani Demegillo (Presto), Ric Marata (Alaska), Peter Aguilar (Añejo) and Renato Agustin (San Miguel) in the second round.